Bridge the Gap with Your Virtual Team – Part 2

I recently read a fantastic article on HubSpot about the 7 Deadly Disadvantages of Working from Home. I was drawn to this article because it so perfectly encapsulated some of the concerns that my clients have when they are considering working with a Filipino Virtual Assistant. So I thought I would create a series of articles that elaborate upon each of the 7 ‘Deadly Disadvantages’ of remote work (and their solutions!) from the perspective of a client engaging with a VA.

The 2nd part of this series deals with probably the most important aspect of working with an offshore VA and that is:

Difficulty or a Lack of Communication

One of the biggest perceived disadvantages of working with a Virtual Assistant is the fact that you can’t simply stroll over to their desk for a quick pow-wow.  Communication within an office environment is often spontaneous and informal and many business owners are afraid that this lack of face to face will lead to a lack of intimacy within their team. And this can happen if proper planning isn’t in place to communicate with your remote team members. If you do not make a concerted effort to regularly touch base with your Virtual Assistant your relationship will suffer, work will drop in quality and mistakes due to lack of understanding will occur.

Depending on where you outsource to, there could also be a language barrier, which may lead to some miscommunication between you and your VA. But there are ways to prevent this.

Key Tips

[Tweet “Research and educate yourself on what systems and programs you will need in order to communicate with your VA”]Some popular online resources for instant messaging include : Google Chat, Skype, Facebook Messenger and Slack

Set regular meetings where you and your remote employees can connect, share updates and ideas and define each of your goals for the week ahead.  This is where you can do a bit of quality control as well, checking up on the progress of your VA and keeping them accountable to the tasks at hand.

[Tweet “Missing the human connection? Ensure that part of your regular meetings with your VA are face to face”]Use tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom or Go To Meeting

Make it a requirement of the role for your VA to be online at certain times during their workday so that you can contact them with a quick IM or FaceTime if you need to.  

Want to foster a tight knit team? Create virtual online ‘hangouts’ where your team can collaborate and share ideas. Some popular programs for this include Google Drive, Slack, Yammer and Basecamp

[Tweet “Ensure you hire a Virtual Assistant who is proficient in your native tongue.”] VA’s from the Philippines are fluent in English due to their American colonial history, but if you are worried that your VA may not understand your instructions ensure that you over communicate your needs.  Share your screen and take your VA through what you require so they can actually see the task being done in real time. Follow up with written advice and ensure that you check in regularly to review and approve work.

In order to reap the benefits of working with a Virtual Assistant you need to be open to the idea of change. In reality, communicating with your VA is not difficult. Rather it is just a different way of connecting and conducting business. Working in the virtual sphere means adapting to that unique environment and taking advantage of the myriad of tools and resources available.

Remember – you are the captain of your ship. Make it a priority to keep your team updated, connected and informed.

Learn more about how a Virtual Assistant can help you and your business – contact Kristy now

 In Part 3 of our series we address the issue of low reliability and retention of remote contractors




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